January 30, 2008

A Note on Creativity

Yesterday I was contemplating my creative side. Actually I don't have a creative side per se, ALL of me is intensely and extremely driven to create, create, create. Research suggests that this is a trait of the intellectually gifted or the insane. Hmmm....you be the judge.

Anyway, my creativity bounces all over the map of interests and possibilities. This used to bother me very much until I learned to just accept the flow. I have maintained an interest in several things through the years such as cooking or scrapbooking, so there's a few brownie points for me! My latest and once again very intense pursuit is making felt cookies for the girls to play tea party. Well, and for my 2 yr old son as well. He can't stand the fact that the girls do anything without him. They are so simple and easy...and I had some leftover felt from {cough} a previous project.

It's basically just felt with some batting in the middle and I hand-sew the beads on with quilting thread so they stay put. The edges are blanket-stitched with embroidery thread. They can easily be washed when it comes time for that and I really am happy to finish a project so quickly! I know this is only a phase, but the girls are loving it.

On another note, gratitude today expressed for:

13. voices of my children as they happily play together
14. desire to reflect the creative flair that God imprinted on my soul
15. a precious email from an old friend
16. laughter in our home even in the midst of sickness


January 28, 2008

The Value of a Number Line

No pun intended in the title!

Jordyn has been working on building a number line since the first day of school and she is approaching the 100th day in the month of February! A BIG celebration that we will blog about later. Anyway, each month has its own figure which usually matches the seasonal theme of that particular month.

The number line has been an excellent tool in learning a great deal of math concepts. Here are a few that we review often:

:: Number Recognition
:: Counting forwards and backwards
:: Skip Counting (22, 24, 26,....)
:: Number 'Families' (the 10s family, the 20s family, the 30s, etc.)
:: Directional Cues--RIGHT and LEFT

:: The concept of MORE and LESS--when we move to the right, the numbers get bigger, to the left the numbers get smaller; so 65 is more than 41 and 12 is less than 28. Over time, Jordyn has learned to explain this concept on her own.

:: Addition and Subtraction--slowly we have built up to doing simple word problems, verbally of course; example-"find number 45. If you had 45 pieces of candy and Grandaddy sent you two more, how many would you have now?" She now knows to move two spaces to the right and get the answer; or to the left if Mom uses the words 'less or take away'.

:: Understanding that Time is Passing--along with marking a daily calendar, the number line helps to give a visual and more concrete example for understanding the abstract concept of time. Because each month has a different figure, Jordyn is able to to 'see' that September, October, etc. are over and in the past. We can also count how many days of school we had in a particular month by simply counting the Christmas trees, leaves, or whatever.

All of this has been done without pencil and paper. Because Jordyn learns well visually and with hands-on activities, she is having fun and learning so much without feeling overly stressed. Then next year we can begin with some math worksheets and such...but she'll have a HUGE bank of concepts and framework in her mind to 'attach' all of that to!

Next year we may count the school days in the shape of a hundred board. We'll see.


3D Snowflakes

Try making one yourself, it's fairly easy. (yes, we know there is no such thing as a yellow and blue snowflake, but ran out of white paper! :o)


January 23, 2008

Two Home Runs!

I (Janelle) am not even a baseball fan, but just wanted to post about the absolutely GREAT news in my life! First, last Saturday, I participated in the county's 4th/5th grade homeschool spelling bee--and won second place! After 27 rounds of words--ten of those rounds being between the winner and myself--the word 'saucer' finally stumped me a little and I heard the ding of the bell meaning that it was not spelled correctly (If you must know, I inserted an 's' instead of a 'c'). But, let's not focus on what I did wrong....

I won second place! And, I heard that last year the bee ended at round 11, so this was a great showdown.

But that's not all! On the same day, I went to audition at a local theatre for a part in the upcoming show 'Schoolhouse Rock, Jr.' To say that I was nervous is a big understatement, but I had practiced my monologue and song a bunch of times. In I went and at the end, the director told me "Terrific job, Janelle! You will definitely be getting a callback...we'll give you a phone call in a few weeks to explain details of the show."


All of the work (which I sometimes complained was boring & hard) of practicing during the fall paid off....woohoo!! I cannot wait to be on stage.

So, there is my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day! (can YOU spell that without looking?)

January 22, 2008

Recipe Exchange

I'm supposed to attend a recipe exchange tonight, but not sure my health will hold up. Feeling ugh, that's all. I'm bummed to miss it since there will be demonstrations on making different food items. Oh, well. But, thought I would share the recipes planned for submission to the group--these are both really good...

All-Purpose Spice Rub
*forgot to marinate that meat? Use this spice rub a few minutes before grilling or stove-top/oven cooking for quick flavor! It is sooo delish (at least we think so).

¼ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup garlic salt
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
¼ cup paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin

Mix together all ingredients and store in a sealed jar. Use sparingly or lavishly depending on taste or amount of flavor desired.

Garden Chowder

½ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 cup each diced potato, celery, cauliflower,
carrot and broccoli
3 cups water
2-3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In Dutch oven or soup kettle, sauté green pepper and onion in butter until tender. Add veggies, water, bouillon, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Combine flour and milk until smooth; stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the parsley. Just before serving, stir in the cheese until melted. Yield: 6-8 servings (2 qts.)

January 18, 2008

Fresh and New

grateful for newness this week...in various forms:

7. a new delicious recipe to enjoy :: Avacado Feta Salsa; only the cook and one child really liked it
8. fresh, new snow covering evergreens out my window

9. a new creative project completed :: felt cookies for little girl & Mama tea parties

10. fresh whispers of hope from my Savior...just because
11. a new farm & nursery catalog to peruse and dream through
12. a new day :: today!

enjoy the weekend everyone.


January 16, 2008

So I remember them...

gratitude today for:

4. little girls in the early morning making Mama a cup of raspberry tea
5. another day of adventurous learning completed
6. the discussion about & anticipation of possibly purchasing one of these *ummm, dreamy indeed*

Planning Meals

For years I've debated the value of planning our meals ahead of time. Numerous menu schools-of-thought have been tried. I have learned some things along the way.

For example, I've realized that planning our daily dinners doesn't fit my way of doing things. I wake up in the morning, look at the menu and think 'I don't feel like cooking that today!'. *Sigh* Much to my dismay, nothing has really worked out for us; or I've just not stuck with it.

Until now! More recently, I've grown tired of the children asking 'what's for breakfast or what's for lunch?' and decided to regulate this area of feeding the family. SO...our current plan is that each month, I sit down and plan the breakfasts and lunches for the month. Yep, you heard right. For the month.

Each day of the week has a different assigned food plan and we eat the same thing each week (for only breakfast & lunch). The plan for February is being worked on, but here is a snapshot:
All Mondays breakfast and lunch will be waffles, fruit and OJ/tuna sandwiches, carrots, pretzels
Each Tuesday is oatmeal & toast/bagel pizzas & cucumber slices

We've been doing this plan since September and it's working wonderfully! The children actually enjoy helping me plan. At the end of the month, we change it up and include different items. I keep the month's menu for future reference and to repeat at some point. It's allowed me to shop once a month for staple items on the list such as bread, pretzels, or oatmeal (we store the bread in an extra freezer). Then weekly or so I shop quickly for other fresh items and for dinner items.

For dinners, I make a weekly list of 8-9 different things we would like to eat (nothing is assigned to a specific day) and shop for them. I choose one each day to cook and rollover the others to the next week. I keep a little notebook full of each week's list so that it's easy to quickly think of meals to make by simply looking back at what we've enjoyed. That idea has worked well also. Yes!

It did take some initial planning and thinking through, but the effort has been very worth it. This Mama is happy now. p.s. these are not pictures of our meals. :o)

January 15, 2008

Mama D's Musings

It's been a while since there has been a post about our family mission statement and the driving force behind why we've chosen to base the children's education from home for this season. Well, the primary reason is because we've been doing the work of educating them! But, the real reason is basically...I forgot.

In the fall, I posted about reason number one, and today I want to elaborate on our mission statement--five descriptions that we came up with back in 2003 that seem to give us a goal to attain. We have not perfected it by any means, but we try daily.

Number Two: "We develop our abilities and talents to honor God and help those in need. We will generously share what we have with others."

Not only are we called to experience relationship together as a family and with our Creator, we are called to relationship with those around us. No theologians here, however, if we did a quick scan of the Scriptures, much seems to focus on the fact that mankind is to care for the things (tangible or intangible) given to us. But not only for our own benefit or to make a name for ourselves! To glorify God and to serve others.

As parents we desire that our children first understand that they are gifted--created in the image of a multi-faceted and highly intelligent God. The gifts or talents they've been given are to be nutured so that they can serve and take their place in this slice of history. Any parent knows it is a huge task to discover where our children's abilities seem to flourish and to provide ways to ignite that fire.
So...we have them at home for a little longer than the 'norm'. Here we can take more time to observe, make note of, take in who they are and the ins and outs of their personalities and potential. With that information in mind, we create opportunities for them to grow in a more holistic way than a classroom might provide. We do not blame the schools, their primary focus is to train children academically. But there is much more to a person than that.
Our family has been entrusted with much. Four beautiful children and the many gifts, talents and abilities among them. Having them at home this season enables us as parents to be much more diligent in allowing them to develop, grow....and become.


January 13, 2008

Unveiling Gratitude

I titled this post as such because I think that gratitude and the 'want-to' of being a more grateful person is really in me, however, it needs the covers to be pulled back, rediscovered...unveiled. The daily practice of noticing the good and the blessings around me I must admit is a little rusty at best. I'm not a complainer, but neither are my words laced with gratefulness on a regular basis for what I have.

I want to change that.

So I begin the journey of recording one thousand gifts in my life. As they happen, as they come. Not for the purpose of following a fad or just to fill space in this corner of cyber world. But so that I can first notice them more intentionally and then tuck them away to be remembered and reviewed in the future.

It's been said that Mama is the heart of the home. If so, it's my desire that our home be filled with gratitude....and I'm beginning with this heart.

gratitude today expressed for:

1. a wonderful brunch meal shared with my husband
2. fresh perspective on the everyday life, can't wait to begin reading

3. time crafting with friends, laughter & creativity flowing

the journey will continue...

January 11, 2008

Critical Thinking Skills

Janelle has been using some books that have been SO beneficial in improving her thinking and comprehension skills. The genius behind them is The Critical Thinking Co. and their products span almost every subject range and also every grade level. Janelle has been working through Math Detective, which enhances (and evaluates) her understanding of a math concept. While we work on computation, mental math, etc. with our Saxon curriculum, Math Detective has been excellent in combining reading comprehension with math practice. It's been challenging for Miss Janelle, but she is making progress! We have also enjoyed other products from Critical Thinking: Building Thinking Skills and Punctuation Puzzler. An excellent company and resource overall--highly recommended!

Enjoying Christmas Presents...

It's all about blocks and books these days for Josiah and Jordyn.


January 10, 2008

A New Cookbook!

Okay, I rarely buy a cookbook. I spend hours in a year pouring over them at the bookstore, they get checked out of the library, I borrow and copy down recipes or print off of the internet. I love cookbooks and could make a collection of it. Especially when they have glossy pages with large pictures of the recipes, which gives me the gotta-make-it-right-now feeling. Ummm, delish!

So I recently checked out Barefoot Contessa's Family Style out of the library and knew it was a keeper. How can one resist the idea of making penne with five cheeses or chive biscuits? I've always enjoyed looking through her books, but this is just one that had so many ideas, comments and oh, recipes! that I will be thrilled to try out. A quick stop here and then I'm waiting for my own copy to arrive; in the meantime, the one I have is getting renewed.


January 9, 2008


To a journey all together new for me, but I'm anticipating the adventure of it all. Though I'm not sure what all this blog will become, I *think* the process of discovery will be fun and rewarding! Without trying to bash those who think otherwise, I will just simply state that the occupation of homemaker, domestic engineer, or whatever new term it's been given is surely a passion for me. I really do enjoy the various aspects of making a home. And, I'm learning that it takes every bit of my combined talent, creative energy, and intellect to do this job. I am not wasting away with nothing to fill my time or mind--quite the opposite! I am at peace with this calling.

Join me in the journey of domestic serenity...

January 8, 2008

Psalm 100

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...